Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One rule for friends, another for enemies

Police on rooftops fired live bullets and tear gas at protesters Sunday, wounding at least 100 people camping out near Sanaa University. The day's violence, which also left two dead in a southern province, was evidence that monthlong protests demanding the resignation of Yemen's longtime leader may be spiraling out of control.

Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has resorted to increasingly violent tactics to try to put down the burgeoning uprising against his 32-year rule, deploying dozens of armed supporters on the streets in an attempt to intimidate protesters.

Wielding clubs and knives, police and regime supporters described by protesters as government sponsored thugs attacked activists camped out near Sanaa University, said Mohammed al-Abahi, a doctor in charge of a makeshift hospital near the university.

Among the 100 wounded Sunday in Sanaa, more than 20 suffered gas inhalation, and one was in critical condition after being struck by a bullet, the doctor said.

So, if you're a U.S. ally, the U.S. will withdraw support at the first indication of trouble, and pressure you to resign in response to street protests. See the example of Egypt.

But, if you're an enemy of the U.S., you can fight using any means necessary to retain power. See the examples of Yemen and Libya and Iran.

What lesson are we teaching the rulers of the various North African and Middle Eastern nations?

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